Say What?

Street-preaching in the 70’s with my college peeps on San Antonio’s Houston Avenue left me stumped one Sunday afternoon.

A well-groomed young fellow, perhaps a businessman, approached after being assailed with a volley of ‘repent and get saved’ appeals.

“Excuse me”, he said courteously, “would you mind if I ask a question?”

I nodded agreement.

“Why are you guys so cynical?”

Lacking the depth needed to respond well, along with a nagging awareness I had no real idea what the term ‘cynical’ meant, I went defensive. . .

“No, we’re not cynical, we’re just trying to show people. . .”

The lame defense that followed, along with this polite gent’s quiet departure afterwards, left me troubled. And wondering. Along with uncovering the meaning of ‘cynical’, I pondered a nagging thought that day, and many days after.

Can I find ways of sharing my faith other than just lobbing gospel missiles at passersby? What if these are real people, much like myself – folks who want to get through their day and through their lives – in basically one piece. Some of them likely exist in bare survival mode. And, for a great many – if they are anything – they are sincere.

I came to learn the word cynical suggests “disbelief in the sincerity of human motives”. I’ve been asking the Lord to help me ever since, wishing I could dial back the calendar – sit with the young man over a cup of chai.

Street evangelism – Open-air campaigns – Stadium events. Historically, such varying means of outreach have brought spiritual orphans into God’s family by the thousands. May they never go away.

And may an alternate response to the one I got way back when, somehow come to be the norm. . .

“Why are you guys so caring?

© 2017 Jerry Lout






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